On December 5, 1990, the Blue Jays pulled off their biggest trade in franchise history. Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter came to Toronto in exchange for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez. This trade changed everything.
Alomar and Carter were key ingredients in our back-to-back World Series championships. Carter was Mr. Consistent, good for 100 RBIs and 30 HRs each year, but Alomar would become the greatest position player in franchise history. This entry is all about him, a newly elected member of the hall of fame and the first member to don a Blue Jays cap. If you care nothing for the Jays, our glory years or Alomar, you can stop reading now. For everybody else, get comfy. This is going to be a long one.
Alomar was a Jay for five seasons from 1991 through 1995. I've only been blogging since 2002, so the fact a search of this blog for instances of the keyword "alomar" renders 30 results tells you how significant he was. Especially since I completely soured on the greatest Blue Jays position player by the time he left as an unrestricted free agent.
The blog is only in its ninth year, but back in 2005 I uncovered an old blog-like journal I kept in the mid-90s. Here's what I wrote on October 3, 1996.
I've got to update you on an incident that occurred at the Skydome last week. Former hero to myself Roberto Alomar was called out on a third strike that looked outside. He argued profusely and was ejected. He then came back out of the dugout and argued further. Then he spit in the umpire's face. He would later make a poor reference to the umpire's departed son and he appealed his five game suspension. Alomar is a jerk. I detected this a year ago when he claimed Toronto was unsafe because of his death threats and began making hints that he would like to play alongside Cal Ripken, Jr. He would then sit out the final series of the season to protect his .300 batting average. Ted Williams played out his final two games while sitting on a .400 batting average and Mr. Williams managed to go six for eight and raise his average to .406. Robbie Alomar couldn't carry Mr. Ted Williams' jock strap.
The way Alomar left town always left a bad taste in my mouth. That nonsense about feeling unsafe in Toronto, sitting on the .300 average, the John Hirschbeck incident... and recently, shocking AIDS allegations, from not one but two women, including his wife. He's not the easiest athlete to love but I've been able to separate his character from the Robbie Alomar we saw between the lines for five seasons. The Alomar I watched daily from 1991 through 1995 is the greatest ballplayer I've ever seen.
Here's his stats from his Blue Jays years. Click the image below to enlarge.
Those stats are sick. He was an all-star and golden glove winner every year he played in Toronto. He was the MVP of the 1992 American League Championship Series hitting a monumental homer in that series against Dennis Eckersley. He could hit for average, power when necessary, he played breath taking defense and he could steal bases. We often forget what a good base stealer Alomar was. His 55 stolen bases on 1993 is only second to Dave Collins' 60 in 1984. Only Lloyd Moseby recorded more career steals as a Blue Jay.
Say what you will about Alomar the person, but when it came to what he brought to the field from 1991 through 1995, we were so blessed to have him. In addition to hitting for average, power when necessary, playing the best defense at 2nd base I've ever seen and stealing bases, he was clutch. If the early-90s Jays were trailing heading into their at bat in the 9th inning, I always felt confident we'd pull it out if Devon White, Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter or Paul Molitor were due up.
Congrats, Robbie. And thanks for five special years.